What are the possibilities when a 140-year-old brand starts acting like a startup? Mark van Iterson, Heineken's Global Head of Design, gave us a sneak peek of The Magazzini, a pop-up experience exploring design and nightlife culture staged during this year's Milan design week. "Beer is emotion," van Iterson shares, and The Magazzini is an embodiment of Heineken's commitment to design—a playground for innovative ideas in nightlife.
Open from 2PM–2AM daily, The Magazzini will host capsule exhibitions from London-based Designersblock x Arts Thread and Amsterdam-based Tuttobene, which is celebrating 10 years in Milan. Daily programming from Pecha Kucha and Cool Hunting featuring Yves Behar, Alex Mustonen (Snarkitecture) and Luca Nichetto will include beer breaks, of course, along will special workshops from new media designer Joshua Davis and "vectorfunk" artist Matt W. Moore.
The brand is even experimenting with "beer cocktails" using fresh ingredients. Try a Heineken on tap infused with a kick of fresh red chills, the cooling properties of muddled mint or the herbal brightness of lemongrass at their center bar.
Beginning at 7PM, the space turns into a nightclub with guest DJs—attendees can experience Matt W. Moore's new club bottle design that is a showpiece for Heineken's Open Design Exploration program. Under natural light, the aluminum bottles have a frosted geometric pattern and the signature green star. Club goers can see the bottles transform into fluoro-blue-and-green under black light. In the backdrop of this creative lab for nightlife, van Iterson proudly tells us that this is the "first time this multi-color black light effect has been done."
In addition, Tribal DDB designed a "smart bottle" concept debuting at The Magazzini. Working with Heineken, the creative team went from concept to prototype in less than ten weeks. The concept piece clips onto the bottom of your Heineken bottle. A 3D-printed body houses an arduino-based circuit board that engages with drinkers—when you tilt or clink the bottle, the board lights up. You can also track your "cheers" history and an embedded network transceiver allows the DJ to control the light patterns from the booth so the thud of the bass could light up your bottle.
The Open Design Exploration is Heineken's crowdsourcing platform to redefine the bar expeirence. What began as a global call for entries to design the "Club of the Future" for Heineken's 2012 Milan presentation has now evolved into a creative lab for Heineken to roll out new and engaging prototypes. As van Iterson shared, "We created a space for ourselves to experiment." The difference is that the prototypes are now being scaled up and distributed to clubs around the world. Michelle Wu designed futuristic fashion for bartenders and waitresses and will see her designs rolled out at nightclubs, globally. Interior designer Lee Gibson drew on the geometric patterns in origami to design 2012's Club interiors. In the past year, he has applied those lessons to two high-end bars in Singapore—the award-winning rooftop bar 1-Altitude and a luxury bar, Mink.
Kicking off their 2014 program, Heineken is opening the call for entries for their second Open Design Exploration. This time the theme is lounge, and they're asking designers in New York City, Warsaw, Singapore and Mexico City to participate. Between now and May 31st, designers can apply online at heineken.tumblr.com. Even if you aren't a designer, you can participate by tagging instagram pictures of lounge bar experiences with the hashtag #futureloungedesign.
April 9–13, 2013
via Valenza 2, Tortona
@ Porta Genov